21st Aug 2023

The way you contact the surgery is changing

Dear Patients,

From Monday 4th September the way you contact the surgery is changing.

We have heard and understand the frustration with the 08:00 phone call to book an appointment, and whilst we have made some significant investments in the phone system and our reception team, this is still not adequate. Furthermore, we as clinicians want to ensure that when you are most in need of our help you can be seen quickly by the right person at the right time.

For this we need your help. To ensure patients are seen correctly we need information about your healthcare request. Our team has grown substantially, and we have true specialists in their fields for things like musculoskeletal disease, mental health and medications. They can assess, investigate, treat and refer. By having more information about your request we can make sure you are treated by the most appropriate person.

To enable this we will be moving to an online consultation request form. It is a short, quick and easy to fill in form that can be accessed directly via the NHS app or our website. On receipt it will be directly reviewed by the triage team, headed by experienced GPs, to find the best solution to your problem. Best of all it doesn’t involve you waiting in telephone queues and can be submitted before the surgery is even open.

It can be much more convenient for you as well. Maybe you have a simple case of a water infection, or tonsillitis. With the information on the form, and some potential follow-up text questions, a course of antibiotics, if appropriate, can be issued for you quickly, without having to disrupt your day waiting for phone calls or coming into surgery.

More complex and urgent problems will be brought into surgery quickly so they can be properly addressed, whilst routine problems will be booked into appointments as normal, taking in to account your preference of GP and time. Our reception team will communicate to you the outcome of the triage and of course you have the option to change it if it is not appropriate for you.

We understand this is a big change and the worry it might cause. Whilst this is an online form, it is very much still the same team reviewing and acting on that information. By utilising our appointments better there will be more continuity between doctors and patients, appointment waits will be shorter, and overall satisfaction will be higher.

For our patients who struggle with, or cannot use an online form for whatever reason, there is the option for a representative, such as a family member, to fill it in for them. Alternatively, the form can be completed by a member of our reception team over the phone or in person. To ensure that the most vulnerable members of our community can speak to us and receive the help they need we need to ask those of you who can use the form to do so. If you opt to ring reception when you could have used the form, someone might lose their only way of getting the help they need.

These changes are being made to ensure we can continue to provide you with the highest quality healthcare that you deserve and need in an ever more complex environment. We will keep the process under continual review and welcome your feedback along the way.

Here are some links about how to use the form:

Patient Triage: Patient guide | Accurx Help Centre

Yours faithfully,

Dr Waldendorf, Dr Kinmond, Dr Yin, Dr Kwan & all the team at Linden Hall Surgery